Statement ref child sexual exploitation
We are aware of the calls for an independent inquiry into the issue of historic child sexual exploitation in Telford.
“We are also aware that the government select committee would be seriously concerned if local authorities were to hold off their investigations pending the outcome of the nationwide Alexis Jay inquiry. That is precisely why we carried out our own Scrutiny review over a period of 18 months into how agencies in Telford have been working together to tackle child sexual exploitation. The Home Office has also indicated the national Alexis Jay inquiry will take evidence from individuals as well as institutions.
“After the Operation Chalice court case concluded, authorities including Telford & Wrekin Council and West Mercia Police commissioned an independent report by community interest company New Start Networks into the learning relating to children abused through sexual exploitation covering the period 2008-2013. This independent report was published on 30th October 2013.
“The New Start Networks report concluded: “Telford & Wrekin is to be commended for the work it has undertaken in order to protect young people from CSE. In this Review, it has become clear that the focus was on the “rescue” of the young women involved and that knowledge and resources evolved very quickly from 2006. A specialist team was created, systems were put into place and multi-agency working was encouraged as part of that rescue process.”
“That is also why this year’s independent and comprehensive OFSTED inspection of Telford and Wrekin’s children services and Local Safeguarding Children Board found that: “Work with children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation is very strong. The local authority has been a champion for tackling this issue.”
“The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, has already said this week: “There is no doubt that the sexual exploitation of children goes on in communities up and down the country, including Telford. Crucially though, the problem here is now acknowledged rather than denied.
“I would assure our communities that there is no complacency. There is no ‘burying heads in the sand’. Local safeguarding partners share a genuine commitment to work together to confront this despicable crime and tackle it effectively so that young, vulnerable people are safer and better protected.”
In this week’s Parliamentary debate, Sarah Newton – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism – referred to our positive OFSTED report and said of service leaders in Telford and Wrekin: “They are prioritising tackling child sexual exploitation and working together to address the issues.”
Additionally, previous accusations that only a third of child sexual exploitation complainants were referred to the Children Safeguarding Service do not paint the whole picture.
This was because a referral to Children’s Safeguarding Service is just one of a number of appropriate outcomes to a contact of this type depending on the specific issue and circumstances.
Our analysis shows that all the contacts received a proportionate response. In addition to the 33% of contacts that were referred to Children Safeguarding Service, a further 38% were referred to another Council or partner service and the remaining 29% receiving information and advice.
A copy of the New Start report can be found here:
Clive Jones, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Director of Children’s and Adult Services.